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What Was Life like in the Soviet Union?

The Cold War is long over, but there's one place in Lithuania where it's still 1984. Deep underground in a Soviet-era bunker near the capital of Vilnius, visitors to "1984. Survival Drama" can experience what life under communist rule could be like: angry guards berating "prisoners" with bullhorns; cold, dimly lit corridors; forced confessions; solitary confinement; and the ever-present threat of a nuclear attack. It's all an act, of course, put on by a tourism-focused troupe, but they make sure it feels real. During the three-hour tour inside the bunker, guests must obey the commands of their "Soviet" captors or face harsh discipline and the threat of being ousted as a capitalist traitor. The organizers say the attraction is mostly popular among younger Lithuanians, who are often hard-pressed to understand what rigors their older countrymen once had to face. Lithuania endured Soviet rule for nearly 50 years, re-establishing self-rule in the early 1990s.

A chilling time in history:

  • The Cold War is considered to have begun with the announcement of Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech in 1946.

  • The Berlin Wall, which divided that city in half, fell in 1989; the Soviet Union disbanded two years later, ending the Cold War.

  • 1984 author George Orwell first used the term "cold war" in 1945 to refer to his prediction of an eventual nuclear arms stalemate between powerful nations.

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More Info: The Guardian

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